Research Centre and the Reading Room Accessing Records at the Memorial

The section of the Memorial that holds written records of war is called the Research Centre. The collections maintained by the Research Centre document Australian involvement in war and operational service. Additionally, these documents can provide information on the historical background, and the effects on Australian society, of the conflicts in which Australia has been involved.

While you can use this website to access the Research Centre’s digitised historic documents and records, this represents only a small proportion of the records we hold.

The Reading Room is a dedicated facility within the Memorial where we provide research assistance and access to the Research Centre’s non-digitised archival material.

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Visit the Reading Room

The Research Centre will be reopening to visitors on 1 July 2020 by appointment only. The number of visitors allowed in the Research Centre per session will be limited. Available places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Appointments will be available for the following session times:

  • Morning session (Monday to Friday): 10 am to 12.45 pm
  • Afternoon session (Monday to Friday): 1.45 pm to 4.30 pm
  • Afternoon session (Saturday): 1 pm to 4.30 pm

The Research Centre is closed Sunday and ACT public holidays.

Appointments are not transferable. Visitors unable to attend their appointment will need to reschedule.

Please arrive at the advertised start time of your appointment to complete security checks and be escorted to the Research Centre’s Reading Room.

When making your appointment you can request up to 15 collection items to be retrieved for viewing. We strongly recommend that you make an appointment at least two weeks in advance as some collections are stored off-site and can take time to be retrieved. During your appointment you can request further material as required. It typically takes 60 minutes for collection items held onsite to be retrieved.

Your booked appointment provides access to an allocated desk and lockers for cloaking your belongings. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own device and connect to the Memorial’s wifi to search collections and view digitised items.

Please help us preserve the collections by following our guide to viewing archival material in the Reading Room. Additionally during this period we ask that:

  • Please stay home if you are unwell, contact the Research Centre to reschedule your appointment.
  • Gloves will be provided and must be worn when handling the collections in order to protect the collection from residual hand sanitiser and/or hand cream, which is damaging to paper.
  • Maintain a 1.5-metre physical distance from staff and other visitors.
  • We encourage you to bring your own device and connect to the Memorial’s wifi to search collections and view digitised items on our website. Public computers are available if needed and anti-bacterial wipes provided for visitors to wipe down equipment before and after use.

The above guidelines and available session times are subject to change. All visitors with a booked session will be notified if there is any change to the current conditions.

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Unable to visit?

The Research Centre telephone enquiry service is available from 9 am until 5 pm Monday to Friday, excluding ACT public holidays.

Do you need help with your research? Use our online enquiry service.

If you are unable to visit the Reading Room to conduct your research, local research agents are available to undertake research on your behalf.

Copying services

It is possible to have copies of items from the Research Centre’s archival collections digitised, depending on:

  • the physical condition of the item
  • any donor restrictions, as in the case of Private Records
  • the Copyright Act, and
  • the Archives Act.

Copies of archival material are delivered online by publication on the Memorial’s website, or, where unable to be delivered online, by electronic documents transfer.

You are welcome to visit the Research Centre or use the online databases to fill out a Request for a copy cost estimate. We will prepare an estimate for the entire file. We do not have the resources available to examine the file to determine which pages are relevant to your research or to digitise individual page extracts from a file.

Please note: We are in the process of installing new specialist oversize scanning equipment. Clients requesting digitisation of oversize items may experience some delay in the completion of their order.

A copier is available in the Research Centre Reading Room for visitors to make copies from books and journals. If you are unable to visit to make copies from these published sources, you can request them via inter-library loan from your local library.

Collection guides

Collection guides are inventories, indexes, or guides that are created by archival and manuscript repositories to provide information about specific collections.

The Research Centre collection guides contain information about selected private records and ephemera collections held in the Research Centre of the Australian War Memorial. In general, each collection guide includes:

  • background information on the creator or theme of the collection
  • a description of the collections overall content and organisation
  • a breakdown of the collection's contents